In the diplomatic world of New Zealand and India, there were a few notable engagements in the last fortnight that further cement already growing bilateral relations between the two countries. 

The social media and Twitterati was abuzz with highlights of celebrations and mutually appreciative congratulatory messages around some important moments of national importance and other key developments within the diplomatic space of the two countries. 

One of the most significant moment was the celebration of Waitangi Day, both in New Zealand and in India. 

Indian envoy joins other in diplomatic corps to celebrate Waitangi Day

In New Zealand, High Commissioner of India Muktesh Pardeshi joined other members of the diplomatic corps in celebrating Waitangi Day at the treaty grounds up-north in Waitangi.  

Waitangi Day is NZ’s national day, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 6, 1840. 

"Greeting Rt. Hon. @GovGeneralNZ on the occasion of #WaitangiDay 2020. Many thanks to @DanielMellsop@MFATgovtNZ for organising an enjoyable trip for #diplomaticcorp to Waitangi," Mr Pardeshi congratulated the NZ nation from his twitter handle on Wednesday, February 5. 

This was the first opportunity for Mr Pardeshi in his capacity of Indian High Commissioner to NZ to attend New Zealand’s national day – an experience that was truly “phenomenal and inspirational.”

Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Mr Pardeshi said, “It was a truly phenomenal and inspirational experience to join all New Zealanders and the diplomatic corps in celebrating Waitangi Day.”

“I was able to personally convey the best wishes of the people and the government of India on this important day,” Mr Pardeshi said. 

The official handle of India’s public diplomacy, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India had also twitted their best wishes to New Zealanders on the Waitangi Day with a photograph of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Narendra Modi shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries. 

“Greetings to New Zealanders on the Waitangi Day,” the message from the official Indian diplomacy account twitted. 

Waitangi Day celebrated in Mumbai

Mumbaikars in India were treated to the iconic Kiwi Kapa haka at a glittering event hosted by the office of New Zealand’s Consul General in Mumbai on Saturday, February 8, to celebrate the 180th anniversary of Waitangi Day. 

Ralph Hays, the Consul General and the NZ’s Trade Commissioner for South Asia led the diplomatic mission’s celebrations of NZ’s national day and shared some glimpses of the event on the social media. 

Maharashtra government’s Cabinet Minister Aditya Thackeray was in attendance as the Chief Guest. 

“Was something special to host our 180th Waitangi Day event here in Mumbai. The Ngati Koraha, Kapa haka group, added culture and entertainment to the evening and made a lasting impact on all our guests. Thank you also to Hon Minister Aaditya Thackeray for attending,” Mr Hays said.  

Grahame Morton oversees historical set up of NZ academic centre at IIT Delhi

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, NZ’s Senior diplomat, Principal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Grahame Morton, who has formerly been High Commissioner to India, and is currently back in India temporarily, manning the mission, was at the forefront of the historic inking of the pact of Memorandum of Understanding between IIT Delhi and eight NZ universities for setting up an innovative NZ Centre. (Read detail story here)

“After 4 years prep, two day meeting of reps of 8 NZ uni’s and India partner IIT Delhi agree roadmap on research collaboration & in principle alignment on academic centre. Work ahead but grt progress,” Mr Morton twitted. Grahame Morton visits Indian Council of World Affairs - the Indian think tank on international affairs 

Indian High Commissioner meets with top officials of Niue Island

Indian High Commission to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi, who also oversees the diplomatic relations with Samoa and the island of Niue in addition to his charge of Wellington hosted top-level officials of the later to discuss bilateral relations and affirm India’s commitment to supporting the people of Niue. 

Grahame Morton visits Indian Council of World Affairs - the Indian think tank on international relations 

A social media post from the office of Indian High Commission informed that Mr Pardeshi met with Ms Peleni Talagi, Secretary to the Government of Niue, Mr Fisa Igilisi Pihigia, High Commissioner of Niue to New Zealand and Mr Brett Collier, CEO of Niue Telecom. 

“Government of India has extended financial support of USD 910,700/- (NZD 1.2 million) to assist Niue in the establishment of 4G/LTE Mobile Network. The project has already been completed successfully. Both sides are exchanging views on 2nd phase of the project,” the social media post further stated.